It was an off-hand comment taken seriously.
That is how Nancy Jean Tubbs, director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, ended up doing something she had not done in decades — wearing a dress.
“I remember I said something like, ‘This scholarship is so important, I would even wear a dress for it.’ And the students seemed to kind of fixate on it,” said Tubbs.
The aptly named event, “Nancy Wears a Dress,” featured Tubbs in a — well — in a dress in an effort to raise money for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex and Allies (LGBTQIA) Student Leadership Scholarship for undergraduates.
Two undergraduates were chosen for the inaugural scholarship on the basis of an online application and an essay in which applicants demonstrated their leadership abilities, involvement with the on-campus LGBT community and interest in political issues related to the LGBT community.
Undergraduates Remie Rahman and Vincent La were selected to receive the $500 scholarships.
“I was so tense when my name was called, it seemed so surreal,” said La. “In retrospect, I felt very shocked, proud, and honored that the LGBT chancellor’s advising committee chose me as a person suited for the scholarship. It fuels my … passion to advocate for LGBT representation on campus.”
One of the goals of the LGBT Resource Center is to raise $25,000 to endow the LGBTQIA Student Leadership Scholarship awards.
To reach that goal, the LGBT Resource Center is seeking donations from staff, faculty, students and the campus community.
In its first run, “Nancy Wears a Dress” raised about $3,000 for the scholarship. Tubbs, who hasn’t worn a dress in 20 years, said the idea for the event came out of a collaboration with students.
“It was a very painful process,” Tubbs joked.
Tubbs bought her dress from a store in the Galleria at Tyler. With the help of an energetic saleswoman and a colleague from housing, she chose “ a little black dress.”
“They were extremely patient. I didn’t enjoy the process at all, but I think they did,” Tubbs said.
On the day the scholarships were awarded, Tubbs wore the dress to work all day.
To complete her outfit, she bought a pair of 3-inch heels from Payless Shoe Source and accessorized with jewelry. In addition she had a student apply makeup which like wearing the dress, she had not done in about two decades.
On her aversion to dresses, Tubbs said, “I feel more comfortable wearing pants. It’s also an important part of my gender expression. There are pictures of me in dresses as a child. So I imagine that I used to like wearing dresses when I was about 4 or 5, but not so much after that.”
Tubbs is keeping the dress.
“It’s the only dress in my closet,” she said.
She said “Nancy Wears a Dress” may or may not continue. But, she said, staff, faculty, students and others are encouraged to continue donating money to help endow the scholarship.
For more information, visit www.out.ucr.edu/center/giving.htm.